Kichaa Mesoa stared out across the sea from his perch atop the cliff. Somehow this just seemed to be the right place to watch a sunset from. Feeling gloomy, Kichaa had long ago realized that he felt most at ease when watching water... it reminded him of Lake Hylia. His parents had lived almost everywhere and he was obligated to follow them, so he saw all of Hyrule and lived in most of it. Lake Hylia was just his favorite place. Now, while he sat cross-legged on the grass overlooking the sea he wondered about his parents.
The wind that blew his hair off his face seemed to bring with it thoughts of his gypsy-like parents and his childhood. His father had been a hunter, a good one actually, who had taught Kichaa how to use arms and armor to his advantage, as well as how to stay silent and undetected. In his five years of adventuring these skills had served him very well, leading him into his current profession- bounty hunting. His first battle had been with his father... it had been a very new experience. As he fell to dreaming about his family his mind wandered back to that battle...
Darryl Mesoa turned to his son with a short sword in one hand and a cutlass in the other, fully intending to teach him to fight but not realizing that Kichaa already had a dagger hidden in his tunic. "Now remember Kichaa, this is not a toy, so be very careful with it," Darryl said quietly as he handed his son the cutlass and shifted the short sword to his right hand, preparing to teach Kichaa some basics.
Kichaa watched his father silently, hoping that he could surprise his dad with the tricks he learned using his dagger. His father was about 6'6", wiry, with black hair identical to Kichaa's own thatch. He had a kind, gentle aura about him emanating from Kichaa's mother and her love of both of them. Kichaa felt the weight of the dagger in his hand and realized that his father intended to teach him, not fight him. Slightly bummed, Kichaa knew better than to tell his dad he didn't want to learn, but he wouldn't just sit and be bored on this afternoon. Making up his mind, Kichaa launched himself forward, stabbing at his dad's wide open body.
Caught off guard Darryl parried easily and swung his sword down on his son's arm, only to find the short sword cutting nothing but air. His son had disappeared! Swinging around, Darryl re-found his son in mid-leap towards him. Dodging to the left and bringing the short sword down on Kichaa's cutlass, he held the cutlass easily and started grabbing at Kichaa, who squirmed his hand into his tunic and produced a dagger out of nowhere and cut a clean red line on Darryl's hand.
Kichaa took the opportunity to leap backwards and catch his breath, knowing he'd just surprised his dad just like he wanted to. He was about to start again when his dad raised his sword and said, "No Kichaa that's enough."
Kichaa's eyes surveyed the wreckage of what was once a large warship, trailing from the mast, which had snapped nearly at the halfway point and pierced the Captain's quarters, to the stern, now embedded in the rocky shoreline, and eventually finding their way to the bow, which was high above him. The entire ship was literally standing straight up on the seashore, its bow pointing into the sky and the stern, or what remained of it, halfway under the sand and rock. The entire construction was battered and broken, large holes having somehow been punched in the side, making it somehow end its seagoing life here on the beach.
The boat, when it was still seaworthy, would have been an amazing ship. It appeared to weigh over six hundred tons, even with pieces missing, and it was truly majestic even as it was. The five sails had torn and ripped from their rigging, dangling down onto and covering parts of the ship, the heavy canvas becoming more weighty due to its waterlogged condition. Kichaa could only stare in wonder at the ship, his mouth slightly agape with wonder.
If this ship was destroyed, he thought, imagine the warship that must've destroyed it.
Three months earlier.
"Get on deck boys!" Captain Leon Perry shouted to his crew. When the bunch were all lined up orderly on the spotless Galleon's deck he continued a few decibels lower, "We're headed to Port Campton boys, and we have very strict orders not to attack any pirate ships that we see on the way," he said, bursting into a loud, hearty laugh with the rest of his crew. Once they settled down he continued again, "We have a shipment on board that is very important to his Lordship the Duke, and we all know what Admiral Beesly would do to us if it didn't make it. The shipment is gunpowder, cannons, and cannonballs. We've been ordered to share our inventors' contraptions with the rest of the kingdom, so they can have an edge against pirates and corsairs," as he said this many of his men nodded silently in agreement, their posture not changing in the least, "But we have a problem boys. See, the Navy seems to think that Scarlett Campy and her pirate fleet knows what we're doing. This is a problem since we won't be getting support."
Most of the crew was not at all affected by this statement, having faith that their captain knew more about sea battles than God himself, and merely stood watching their leader. But a few of the newer crew members were cowardly, having joined the navy for the money and seemingly easy way out of life, and spoke up.
"What if we die Captain?" one shouted, gaining shouts of approval from others.
"Then we'll be rid of scum like you!" the first mate barked, causing them to back down defeated, though the Captain waved his had to silence his friend.
"I am aware of this danger, but I didn't have a choice," he told them, "But if you ask me, better to go down in a blaze of glory than to shirk our duties and hide behind others."
Many of the men beamed with pride over this, but the faithless few were not so happy, and they mostly just scuffled their feet uncomfortably. The captain saw the crew's reactions, but he needed to add another thing.
"I'm afraid there's more, we have on board a very expensive book, which the Duke has been borrowing from Count Ramon. We have been instructed to get it back to him," he paused, then plunged back in, "This single volume is worth this ship's weight in silver."
The crew was aghast at the price of this book, and how something could ever become that valuable. The captain did not get a chance to elaborate further though, because on the horizon something happened that startled him. Six identical ships, moving at speed only certain pirate vessels had reached, were approaching the Firefly.
"To stations boys! We've got some mates on their way!" Perry shouted as he ran up the stairs to reach the helm, "Prepare the port cannons!"
The cannons were new to the Firefly's crew, so there was some confusion over what to do at first, but by the time the first clipper ship was nearing them all six cannons were ready to fire. Before Perry could give the order though, the attacking ship swerved as only pirate vessels could to the starboard side, effectively dashing hopes for a quick victory. The ship passed by swiftly, but Perry still saw who was at the helm. Scarlett Campy was leading this attack herself.
"Blast!" Perry whispered. Scarlett was the only Naval Captain to leave the service, and this was made worse by the fact that she was the greatest naval strategist ever known. Her tactics were taught to everyone that went through training, from Captains to quartermasters. The ship swung around perfectly, coming up on the starboard side in an instant. How does she do these things, Perry thought grimly, though he knew the answer. She had been trained in wind elemental magic, allowing her to make wind stop completely if she wanted.
"Prepare for boarding!" Perry yelled immediately, whipping the scimitar he wore out of its sheath. He'd practiced the sword in every spare moment, and was a great swordsman, but he knew that his crew was doomed, and he along with them. Rushing quickly into his quarters, he lay his hands on the large, leather-bound book that sat on his desk. Without a second thought he pried up the fake board that served as a safe and placed the book inside.
Hours later, the galleon was drifting half below the water, holes having been blasted in its side by the same cannons it had been installed with just a week ago.
Kichaa had been exploring the wreckage of the galleon for almost a half hour, finding that he was more intrigued the more he searched the more the vessel. He'd never had an interest in the sea before now, as he thought the only ships that sailed were navy supply ships or pirates, but this was no pirate vessel judging by what Kichaa had heard. Pirate ships were usually painted with reds and blacks, every once in a while a captain would choose a dark green, but this ship was not painted at all. It also seemed cleaner than any ship he'd heard of, and he doubted pirates cared enough to do that. The thing that stood out to Kichaa most was the lack of armament. He had been lead to believe that even supply ship carried heavy weaponry now, but this ship had no weapons at all, apart from a dagger or sword here and there.
Another hour found Kichaa inside the captain's quarters, searching every nook and cranny to find what caused the wreck. All he found was a large book, similar to the book he'd found in a temple some time ago only this one had only one language written in it. Climbing out of the cabin was considerably harder than getting in, as he'd only needed to slide from the door to what was now effectively a floor. Eventually he gained the door again though, and climbed out and off, returning to his horse to retrieve his flint and tinder box.
Yet another hour passed with Kichaa inside the ship, darkness having fallen, with a blaze in front of him. He held his two books, reading intently from them both, oblivious to the mercenary frigate that taken anchor out in the bay.
I'm interested in what the books are. And it seems Kichaa is going to have a seafaring adventure. I only found two problems in your first chapter.
Originally Posted by Honorary Aussie
Caught off guard Darryl parried easily and swung his sword down on his son's arm,
I think there should be a comma after "off."
Originally Posted by Honorary Aussie
"No Kichaa that's enough."
And I think that there should a comma after "No." Other than that, nice.
[Draculla's Magic] Wake up, lose your hesitation. Wake up, it's time for us to realize. Wake up, show appreciation. Wake up, it's time for us to realize. [Avy by Azure Guardian. Sigs by various awesome people.]
Author's note: This is to explain where my BA characters hail from, live, etc.
Excerpts from "History of Mortogh" Chapter One- famous rulers.
Kings Regent and Mortogh: The land was fairly young and the first nation had been birthed by two friends, Regent and Mortogh. Regent was a charming and charismatic young man with a remarkable understanding of human nature when the country began, and was mostly a right hand man and advisor to his older friend, and was not named a king until his thirtieth birthday. Mortogh, a man of thirty six years in the beginning of Mortogh, was an honorable warrior that had a grasp of political wars that Regent never achieved and trusted his friend entirely. After his death at the age of forty five, nine years after the founding of the country, Regent changed the nation's name from Aliscia to Mortogh in honor of his friend.
King Leith: The great-grandson of Mortogh, Leith was the master of war that lead Mortogh through its hour of terror. The invading tribes of savages had built up strength and created weapons that the now civilized nation did not comprehend. One of these inventions was a mechanized bow, which launched enormous arrows that were seldom below the size of a small tree. This weapon, along with catapults and trebuchets, devastated the ill-defended cities of Mortogh. In the midst of this massive invasion Leith emerged as the leader of both the military and the political realm, putting an end to the democratic monarchy system they had previously used. Walled cities became the key trait that the nation became know for, and few citizens were not proud of their fearless king. The king was assassinated by an unknown ninja, but most of the country raised up patriotically and the war against the invaders ended within months.
Queen Isabella: The only noteworthy female ruler, Isabella was the obvious leader of Mortogh for more than twenty-three years as the more politically knowledgeable spouse. Her husband was the general of the army, and Isabella added a new invention to the now century-old monarchy: the clipper ship. The ship was used for transportation between the port cities that sprung up all across the country, and pilots became more and more skilled.
Duke Morrier: The most recent ruler of the powerful country, Duke Morrier is known by everyone in the kingdom as the most formidable swordsman the nation has recently claimed, as well as the power behind the throne. His part of the country is rich from its large deposits of iron, coal, and titanium, and has fertile enough land that it can be completely self-supporting. The Duke imports cedar and oak timber from the mountains and his ally, Count Ramon, and has the largest fleet as well as the most prosperous trade contracts. The shipyards that produce his navy actually lie in Ramon's realm, but they are owned by the Duke.
Chapter Two- notable persons.
Ancient Masters: Know now only by their titles, the Ancient Masters invented the many styles that swordsmen used to practice. Few in the land know these styles anymore, so to find a master is now impossible, but they left all their knowledge behind in large books that detail the forms and practice methods.
Count Ramon: The count that controls the county north of Duke Morrier, which has grown rich and prosperous with the import-export alliance with Duke Morrier. The master hunters and rangers from this area are said to have more knowledge of the wilderness and is home to the most prestigious shipyards in the world. The galleons, clipper ships, frigates, and trade caravels that sail from those centers of construction are by far the most sturdy, powerful, and speedy ships that sail. The Count's archery contests are hailed as a national event, and the yearly Master's Tip contest is a holiday.
Scarlett Campy: Scarlett, who was a naval officer from the age of twenty to the age of twenty-seven, is a tall, lean woman that has been the leader of a pirate armada that is the only rival to power on the seas. The woman is famous for her mastery of ship-to-ship warfare, as well as highly renowned for her aptitude for the wind element. She has preformed more daring feats than all the captains in Duke Merrier's navy combined, and has a reputation for being nearly as bawdy of them all combined as well. Her pirate fleet is approximately half the size of the navy but has more experienced and daring captains, as well as more motivation. She is estimated to be the wealthiest woman alive, and the whereabouts of her port city are unknown.
Chapter Ten- the War.
Starting approximately ten years after the birth of the nation, the Wars lasted eighteen years. Twelve of these years was spent walling in the cities, arming a military force, and creating a counter to the powerful weapons the tribes had brought. The war effort was lead mostly by Leith, the young king.
The tribes that lived to the southeast of Mortogh were savage, but intelligent bands of warriors that lived mostly off of war and plunder. They had invented their machines of war to cripple each other, but when they began to notice their neighbors one of the bolder leaders called a conference of chieftains, outlining a plan to wreak havoc on the rich new nation. The other tribal leaders were stunned and ecstatic at the chance to fight a vulnerable enemy, and swiftly agreed to an alliance. The best estimate of how long it took for them to mobilize is five years, but the unsuspecting citizens of Mortogh were oblivious to their hostile neighbors, so when the tribes struck in over ten cities at once the nation fell into chaos.
The most potent of all the strategies in the War was an ingenious tactic developed by young Captain Leith, a descendant of King Mortogh himself. The tactic was an armed, lightly armored cavalry unit that would swiftly ride in, kill the operators of the weapons, then wreak destruction upon the terror-filled tribes. The tactic was most potent because the tribes considered horses to be gods, and to see fellow men riding upon their gods took the fight out of them, rendering them useless in battle. After nearly the entire army adapted this mounted warfare, the War began to swiftly reverse, seeing the tribes beaten back at almost every battle and walls being built around the larger cities.
This made Leith a legendary figure, and eventually made lead him to reclaim the throne for his family. The young leader grasped the reigns of leadership quickly and made the country proud to be lead by this King. The War continued to become more and more of a source of interest and less and less a source of terror, but this was cut short with a single death. Leith was murdered during the night by an assassin that had been trained on the islands, taught to be both invisible and unmatched in skill. The kill was quick, and Leith barely had time to draw his sword before he fell mortally wounded by the assassin.
The nation was crushed by this blow to their forces, but the fear gave way to fury before the tribes could even start a new battle. Enlistment in the army skyrocketed, the army became bloodthirsty and vengeful, reveling in the feel of the kill. The tribes were taken off-guard by this, as their enemies had previously been reluctant at best, and quickly retreated. The cavalry pursued but the forests of the tribe's land stopped them abruptly.
The Wars had ended, but the nation was left without a leader. This continued for years until six men rose in station and ingenuity, calling themselves by old titles such as Duke, Count, and Earl, based on their wealth. A new king was elected by these men, but the real power behind the throne lay with Duke Morrier and his navy and cavalry.
Aboard the frigate, Essie Brashe and her men were doing all sorts of things to prepare for their next job. The job was protection of one of his Lordship the Duke clipper ships en route to Count Ramon's capitol, Arathea. The Soarline was in bad shape from the last battle, and they had barely escaped from that one. Six clipper ships had ambushed her nearly three months ago, but finding that her crew was not a naval vessel they had left her alone. This was normal these days, but Essie still found it to be slightly irritating to stop for months at a time to repair her ship. So far she'd only made it halfway to the next port, following the coast so that she would have supplied for repairing along the way.
Essie sighed at the thought of telling her crew that they would need more wood before the Soarline would be able to make it any farther, partly because she wanted to move on as much as they did, but also because it would mean she would have to go with them.
The only thing that kept Essie going was the price for her next job. The Duke had promised her naval outfitting for her ship, ten thousand gold coins, and better armament for her men. The naval outfitting had caught her attention in a heartbeat, as a naval frigate was known to have as many as sixty to seventy twelve pound cannons, as well as spare rigging and sails.
The Soarline was technically a clipper ship, but Essie and her crew had outfitted it to outmatch many of the pirate clippers in use thus making it a frigate class at least. The crew consisted of thirty men, allowing for shifts in the work as only ten were needed to actually sail, while in battle everyone had stations to occupy. The ship was by far the most sturdy of both the clipper ship class and much faster than frigates of the time. The Soarline's eight cannons were enough to sink any pirate vessel quickly, and due to Essie's skill the ship could easily outrun and outmaneuver the few galleons that pirates possessed.
The Soarline was in very bad shape though, and she would probably sink under Essie if they didn't get supplies quickly and make it to a port city. As she lay down in her hammock her mind strayed back to her brother, but she fell asleep before her mind kept her awake.
Kichaa awoke to the sounds of numerous people tramping over the ship he'd slept in. When they neared the room he lay in his heart skipped a beat, hoping to any gods that they didn't enter. His hope didn't matter though, for seconds later the door was pried open and Kichaa was staring up at what appeared to be a young woman's face.
"‘Ello there!" she said cheerily to him, obviously having woken up entirely, unlike Kichaa.
"Aloo," Kichaa said groggily, then repeated after clearing his throat, "Hello." The young woman's mouth opened as she laughed, probably at him, long and loud.
"Someone wants to go back t' sleep I'll wager," with that the young woman disappeared, leaving Kichaa gathering his books and beginning the climb out of the cabin. The morning sun shone bright on the galleon, which was being scoured by over a dozen men, and Kichaa wondered how they had all gotten here. Jumping down from the ship, he wandered into the woods to find Evelynna and pack up his new book. After greeting his horse and patting her down a bit he lead her out onto the beach again, watching the crew as they struggled to bring down trees. The frigate anchored out in the bay was obviously theirs, and though Kichaa knew little about ships he suspected it was pretty banged up.
He searched about a bit, and after finding the cheery young woman that had looked in on him asked her something that had been on his mind since he got out of the galleon, "What are you doing with all these men?"
She looked at him, smiling happily and replied, "I'm the captain of the Soarline. It's the frigate out there in the bay," she continued after pointing out to the ship, "And I'm with these men ‘cause they can't do anythin' right without me telling ‘em what to do."
After winking at the now gaping Kichaa, she moved off to check on the crew. Kichaa looked out at the ship, unhappy about how obligated he felt to help these people. They were likely members of the Duke's navy so he might get something out of it, but it seemed a bit unlikely... deciding quickly that he would help, he unslung his shield and placed it onto Evelynna's saddle, along with his sword.
After stopping one of the men and asking how he could help, he started prying up all the boards on the galleon that didn't seem rotten and flinging them down into a pile.
After about an hour of work, the girl that he'd met- he'd heard the name Essie from some of the crew- jumped onto the deck and told them, "Ok fellas I think we've got enough for now." She looked to Kichaa, a bit surprised that he'd stayed, and told him, "You can hitch a ride to the next port if ye like."
With that she leapt right off the deck and started loading the plywood onto their boats along with the other crew members, leaving Kichaa to his decision. He was down loading beside them within minutes, and after another half an hour they were headed out to the frigate, Evelynna unsaddled, unbridled, and left tied to the galleon. After everyone was on board, including Evelynna, repairs began in earnest. The captain and her crew knew what they were doing, so Kichaa just did as he was directed and after a while they had finished and were in the midst of setting sail. Kichaa found Essie already manning the helm, steering them out of the deep bay and into the open waters.
"How did the ship get damaged?" he asked quietly, despite the distracted look on her face.
"Got in a tangle with some pirate clippers," she looked over to him suddenly, "Barely got outta there."
The silence that followed this was enough to make Kichaa head below decks and start mingling with the off-duty crew.
Knight Errant Avardeen Cataphretes stood gaping at the Duke. How could you do this! he shouted at the man, though not out loud. Granted, Avardeen's order was becoming outdated with the cavalry and army's increased training, but surely...
"I'm afraid this is no joke Avardeen. We just don't have use for the Knights anymore... they are dead weight holding down progress," the Duke paused for a moment, "I am truly sorry my friend, but you yourself admitted the Knights were becoming less unique."
Avardeen was faintly angry for the first time in over ten years. How dare this... this... Duke, just disband the Knights? They had loyally served the kingdom for over seventy years, longer than the Duke himself had been alive. This was simply uncalled for, and vaguely unjust. Avardeen needed to say something, "May I speak as a friend my lord?" he received a nod, "The Knights have served you and other rulers loyally for years, why would you simply disband us? Why can you not demand more of us, instead of destroying our lives, and throwing us into the army, cavalry, or worse, the life of a mercenary? This is not just you lordship. This is not right."
The man simply shrugged, as if he were helpless- though Avardeen knew this was his decision alone. The Duke was a just man, seldom prone to regrettable actions, but surely this was an instance that he should have though more thoroughly. Before the knight had a chance to leave though, Duke Morrier added one last option, "I have something special for you Avardeen. Something unique. I want you to go on a journey. I want you to find the best warriors you can, no matter who they are, and as them to be part of something greater. If you can prove to me that these men can surpass any fighting force you've seen, you can make them a new order of knights."
Avardeen looked his Duke in the eye for the briefest moment, then nodded solemnly, "Yes m'lord. I'll try."
Rori was a peaceful place, far from any activity in the realm, but Duke Morrier had given Essie the task of protecting it. The ruler believed that pirates were planning an offensive against the small town for some reason, one that Duke Morrier hadn't disclosed to Essie. They'd been on the island for days now, and there was still no sign of pirates, so Essie was beginning to wonder.
Kichaa, however, had never been more upbeat. Essie and her crew had grown bored the first day, but Kichaa had amused himself in more ways than he'd ever been able to on the mainland. He'd helped at the stores, guarded a few people that needed something in the forest, and even done some odd jobs for the village priests. Essie admitted to a bit of jealousy when it came to Kichaa's easy-to-entertain nature, but she was preoccupied.
She hadn't been told harly anything about this job, and that made her more than a little uneasy. Had she known that not one but two of the ancient masters' books was held in the Church here, she might not have taken the task to begin with. These books were extremely costly, to the point of being held for huge ransoms.
This day was different though. A new arrival had come in the night before, by the name of Avardeen Cataphretes, who was to aid them when the pirates came. The man was highly respected by the Duke, and carried explicit orders to capture Scarlett Campy. This was a serious problem considering the woman had eluded the most renowned mercenaries on the continent for nearly a decade.
Avardeen had been inspecting every inch of the Soarline simply to occupy himself, as Essie had done countless times in the past. Strange ship, Avardeen thought absently. The ship was a clipper ship, but Morrier- Avardeen ceased to think of him as his Duke- had told him it was a frigate. The ship was armed like a frigate, but appeared to fragile. This was a clipper, a heavily armed one, but still a clipper.
Sails. That could be a good thing, but somehow, the prospect of unknown sails seemed too unusual to be a good thing at this time, "Kichaa!"
Running through the streets yelling Kichaa's name was enough to stir the inhabitants of the small island to curiousity, but when Avardeen, a fully armored knight, started pacing through the town like a caged animal, the citizens became frightened.
"Essie, what's the matter with you?" one look at the woman's face answered Kichaa's question, "Ok, get to the ship."
They were there in less than a minute, and sailing out to meet the ship in less than a half hour. The ship had set anchor out in the bay and raised the pirate flag, making the young captain wonder what was happening. The ocean was tranquil as a pond, allowing the Soarline to simply coast to a stop alongside the pirate clipper. Scarlett Campy was on the deck.
The small port town was a speck in comparison to the capital, but Reese still felt exposed among the small thatched buildings. Little but air and dust guarded him from something that could potentially be deadly, and in the forest that alone could get one killed. But Reese was required to set aside his trepidation. Apparently one of his contacts had been given the message that he should report to Duke Morrier's capital within a month, and the Duke was not a man to let down.
The matter bothered Reese. A ruler had not called upon the services of a ranger since the panic about the halflings, when rangers had been called on to hunt, ambush, and murder any halfling of which they caught wind. To the eternal shame of the rangers, the orders were obeyed, and over two thousand law abiding halflings were killed, though so were hundreds of terrorizing halflings. And now the Duke was calling Reese, one of probably eight men that would qualify as a ranger, for an unknown purpose.
He'd been directed to take a ship to Rori, a small island to the east of the mainland, and meet up with the previous Knight Errant Avardeen Cataphretes, who would bring Reese to the capital. Used to the mainland, Reese would be a sore thumb on the sea or in a port, and he knew he was probably scaring any halflings around the town. Luckily for them, he'd be leaving on a small passenger ship within the hour, and not looking back.
Scarlett smiled charmingly at the three warriors that had gather on the Soarline's deck. You'd think she was a courtier with the way she bowed, but Essie was well aware of what this woman could- and would- do. The pirate spoke in a smooth, cultured voice, and would have calmed the three if she wasn't here to attack them, "We're here to take control of the book of Afeero. Please surrender it and there will be no casualties."
Avardeen stepped forward and quickly squelched that proposition, "There will be no peace between us. Your ship is now the property of myself and this crew. Submit and you will not be killed."
Scarlett widened her eyes dramatically, sighing and replying in a faked upset voice, "I'm so sorry you see it that way," her voice hardened slightly, "Crew, dispatch them."
Several men lunged forward, backed by Campy's wind powers, which immediately toppled Avardeen to the deck. Everyone except Essie became thronged with enemies, Kichaa and Avardeen having to ward of six and seven men each, but Scarlett seemed to have singled the younger female out for a reason, " You're my only rival on the seas, do you know that? I've heard more about you in the past two months than I ever received in the Navy. You're going to die here whether or not your crew eventually wins.
Essie's eyes became saucers when the woman drew forth a scarlet painted scimitar and immediately swiped at the younger woman's chest. Two blades were out and ready remarkably fast, blocking the blow and sending it to the side. Essie let her longsword keep the scimitar down for a moment while her shortsword leapt up to stab Scarlett above her left breast. The pirate grimaced and cursed, wrenching her scimitar free. Essie's skill and speed outmatched her, but the pirate was not so easily daunted. After leaping back onto her own ship, Scarlett drew a small vial of red liquid and threw it down in front of Essie. The small gap between the two clippers erupted into orange flame as quickly as the bottle shattered, singing Essie's arms and burning her left leg.
Essie landed on her hands, Scarlett moving forward already in a potentially fatal strike. The mercenary captain managed to bring her longsword up to deflect the strike, but it still jarred Essie's tender arm. She was on her feet in a flash though, and quickly took the offensive. To her surprise, the pirate captain crumpled under the flurry of strikes, ending with a yelp when Essie flicked the scimitar away.
Avardeen and Kichaa were down to one... and a half... foes each, but Kichaa quickly dispatched his, followed closely by a brief session of hacking as the other pirate went down under Avardeen's spear. Scarlett was still sulking in a pile on the deck when Kichaa leapt over the side and started examining the burn marks on Essie's leg. Avardeen, however, wasted no time in jerking the pirate up and flinging her onto the Soarline, Scarlett fleeing before him under the deck.
"That wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be..." Essie muttered slowly, wincing every now and then as Kichaa applied a bit of torn cloth to her burn.
"Yea, you'd think a famous pirate would be more skilled. Avardeen can handle himself pretty well for a city-boy don't you think?" Essie nodded slightly, following Kichaa back onto their own ship.
"Maybe he's not just a city-boy," Kichaa responded, "He's a knight you know, probably why he's a good fighter. Conditioned by training not by practice..."
Essie nodded absently, already giving instructions to the crew when Avardeen came back on deck, "Get back to Rori, we're supposed to meet someone." Essie and Kichaa glanced at each other curiously...
Reese's eyes locked with Essie's for but a moment, both of them wondering at the extraordinarily similar eye color, both of them wondering at the identical hair color, both of them wondering at the odd connection...
Reese's eyes flew up to the storm god, lashing an arrow into his bow quickly, letting it fly towards the bluish-purple clouded humanoid. Electricity tingled all over the Diro le Morta, the God of Lightning.
... Essie's mind wondered at the similarities, wondered if she's found her brother, the man she'd been looking for most of her life. Was he the one? Was he her brother? Essie stretched her arm out towards the man, as if to touch him. Was he real?
Essie's mind wondered against her will. Should she go find her brother and Kichaa? They may not match the god... Essie worried about losing her brother again. She'd only found him just two years ago, and the Duke's orders had taken them so far apart.
... Kichaa's heart throbbed. How long had Essie searched for this lost brother? This must be him, the resemblance is too great to go unnoticed. This must be Reese, but what brought us together? Is there some motive behind all this luck?
Kichaa's heart throbbed in his chest. The Diro le Morta was more than a match for the combined might of Reese, Avardeen, and himself, why had they not brought Essie? Her fire and earth powers would have helped so much here.
... Avardeen displayed no emotion, but this was obviously a reunion of some kind. Was this man a previous lover? A lost relative? This could be chance, but Reese was definitely the ranger the Duke had told him to bring back. The Duke needed a hunter...
Avardeen displayed no emotion, his back to a stone wall. The face of his enemy was scant inches in front of him, the Diro le Morta's icy cold breath, tingling with electric power, blew across Avardeen's face. There must be a way to beat this unstoppable foe!
Reese, Essie, Kichaa, and Avardeen had been charged two years ago with finding this dark god. He had been exerting control over several tribes, and was the chosen deity of several key allies, and to bring his reign to an end would secure peace. The trouble was his location: unknown. Reese had been charged with finding the elusive god, and killing him. Kichaa and Essie had tagged along, Avardeen joining them for unspecified reasons, but he was a welcome addition.
Kichaa was lying flat on his back, having been knocked aside by a single blast of intense electric power, something his skills could not counter, wondering why they hadn't brought his best friend, why Essie was left with her beloved ship. Reese was probably protecting his sister, but the girl could take care of herself.
The lightning god moved like a wraith, his glowing aura wafting around him as if he were not in a cloud, but was himself a cloud. Strips of static electricity coursed across what would have been the surface of his body, creating small spurts of illumination to reveal his twisted features. The face of terror itself, he lacked a nose and ears, as his two large, horrific blue eyes occupied what should have been his forehead. His mouth was eternally agape, though only slightly, revealing a pitch black hole, his gums, tongue and teeth naturally black. The dark god's mouth lacked molars or biting teeth, as he had no reason to eat, but sharp from whatever birth could have spawned him. The top of his skull was devoid of any hair, like the rest of his body, merely containing the brain that fueled his dark thoughts.
And they were fighting this immortal beast, this lightning god. What had possessed them to accept this mission?